German media accuse rail operator of exploiting climate change to avoid blame for delays.
Storms and hurricane-force winds have blown trees and branches onto rail tracks in Germany in recent months, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
But instead of taking the blame, Deutsche Bahn has used climate science rather than its own failings, German media are reporting.
While stranded passengers have been forced to sleep at train stations and stand for hours in front of Deutsche Bahn information centres, DB has encouraged the idea that it is a victim too.
“Extreme weather conditions have had an increasing impact on the rail system in recent years,” the company said. “Researchers are in agreement that extreme weather is becoming more common due to global warming.”
Der Spiegel responded yesterday by claiming that Deutsche Bahn was twisting the truth about climate change in an effort to avoid responsibility for the rail travel chaos.
“Climate data from Germany, Scandinavia, Austria and Switzerland neither shows an increase in storms in northwest Europe, nor does it show that winds are now stronger than they were in the past,” the weekly magazine wrote.
Too many branches
The article blames Deutsche Bahn for the cancellations for allowing trees to grow next to the tracks. It is not the first to do so. After the devastating Storm Friederike in January, the passenger body Pro Bahn attacked DB along similar lines.
“Trees should only be planted far away from the tracks,” its spokesman Karl-Peter Naumann told Neue Osnabrücke Zeitung. “It makes more sense to only plant bushes next to the tracks.”